Portland is known for its green spaces and walking trails. And, of course, the ever-popular Steel Bridge! The steel truss drawbridge was built in 1912 to carry cars and trains across the Willamette River. It’s an essential piece of Portland history as it connects north and south on Naito Parkway by biking or walking on the bridge’s wide pedestrian and bike paths.
There are plenty of things to do on the Steel Bridge. You can take a walk or bike ride, admire the views of the river and downtown Portland, or snap some photos. The bridge is also an excellent spot for fishing – especially in the summer when you can see people fishing from all angles.
Whether you’re a Portland local or just visiting, make sure to check out the Steel Bridge! You won’t be disappointed.
History of Steel Bridge
The Steel Bridge was completed in 1912. It is the only bridge built to carry streetcars and motor vehicles across the Willamette River, which explains its size. The city’s first bridges were wood or some variation of that material, but they were not safe for heavy traffic loads after rail lines became popular on them during the 1870s. Street railway traffic had continued to increase, and at one point, there were more than twenty street railway lines in Portland. A separate bridge was needed for the streetcars, which could not share a bridge with other types of traffic.
The Steel Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that crosses the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Completed in 1912, it was the largest steel bridge globally. The bridge has two main spans of 750 feet each and features an Art Deco design. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The Steel Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in Portland, Oregon. Gustav Lindenthal and built-in 1912 designed it. The bridge spans the Willamette River and carries MAX trains across North Portland.
Facts About Steel Bridge
The Steel Bridge is the only bridge in Portland that can carry trains and cars.
This historic landmark spans over 750 feet long, making it one of the largest bridges built by Gustav Lindenthal.
The steel truss drawbridge was completed in 1912 to connect the north and south Naito Parkway.
It’s an essential part of Portland’s history and a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
The Steel Bridge is an impressive steel truss drawbridge completed in 1912 to carry cars and trains across the Willamette River.
The bridge’s lower deck is only 26 feet above low water level—the lowest of the downtown bridges—so it is lifted often, especially in summer. Most river traffic clears without needing to raise both decks.
Bridge operator houses are on both ends. The south house is now a museum, and the north house has been converted to office space.
The Steel Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
It will only take about 15 minutes of your time to walk from the Steel Bridge.
The bridge is an excellent spot for fishing – especially in the summer when you can see people fishing from all angles.
What to See at Steel Bridge
You won’t be disappointed if you check out the Steel Bridge! There are plenty of things to do, including biking and fishing. The bridge is also a great spot for admiring the views of the river and downtown Portland.
- The bridge’s impressive size and design make it a must-see for anyone visiting Portland.
- Fishing is popular at the Steel Bridge – especially during the summer when you can see people fishing from all angles.
- Take a walk or bike ride across the Steel Bridge, admire the views of downtown Portland and the Willamette River, or snap some photos!
There are plenty of things to do on this iconic structure.
Activities and Events at Steel Bridge
While you’re at the Steel Bridge, make sure to check out all of its activities and events.
- This summer (2017), there will be an outdoor movie showing every Thursday night on Naito Parkway under the bridge!
- “Movies by Moonlight” is a free event in downtown Portland where people can watch movies while lying down on a lawn.
- If you’re in the mood for some shopping, head over to the Lloyd Center, which is only about 15 minutes away from the Steel Bridge by foot or car.
Things Not to Do at Steel Bridge
While there are plenty of things to do at the Steel Bridge, there are also a few things you should avoid.
- Do not park your car on the bridge – it will get towed!
- Do not climb on top of the bridge or walk on its cables. This is dangerous and illegal.
- Do not litter on or around the bridge.
- Do not swim in the Willamette River near the bridge. It’s dangerous and illegal.
- Do not walk on the bike path or any other part of the bridge. It’s dangerous and illegal.
- Pets are not allowed on the bridge, so make sure they’re left at home if possible!
- “Movies by Moonlight” only allows people under 18 years of age who have an adult with them.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the bridge or at “Movies by Moonlight.”
- Weapons are not allowed anywhere in Portland, so leave them at home!
If you follow these guidelines, your visit to the Steel Bridge will be safe and enjoyable! Enjoy your time in Portland!
What to Bring to Steel Bridge
If you plan on visiting the Steel Bridge in Portland, make sure to bring what is needed.
- There are plenty of great places for eating near the bridge, so be sure to pack a lunch or snacks if you plan on spending all day there!
- “Movies by Moonlight” takes place every Thursday under the steel truss drawbridge, so be sure to bring a chair or blanket if you plan ongoing.
- Bring your camera because the Steel Bridge is great for taking pictures!
- It will take about 15 minutes of walking from one side of the bridge to another so don’t forget comfortable shoes and clothing.
How to Get to Steel Bridge
Getting to the Steel Bridge is easy!
-Take a car and park nearby or ride your bike there.
-It’s about a 15-minute walk from the Lloyd Center.
-“Movies by Moonlight” takes place every Thursday night on Naito Parkway under the bridge, so you can park there if you wish to watch!
-There is no public transportation available near this location. Be sure to have your mode of transport to get there!
Address: Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97209-3701 USA
Hours: Monday – Friday, 12 pm to 11 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm to 11 pm
It was closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing Day (December 26). Open New Year’s Eve but closed New Year’s day in January! Closed for maintenance from January to February.
Open from 12 pm to 11 pm on the first Sunday of every month!
Price: Free admission, but if you want a view from under or above the bridge, there is a fee for those areas and parking near these locations. Parking fees vary by location and time of year. In Lloyd Center, the garage is open from Monday to Saturday from early morning to midnight and on Sundays from noon to midnight. The rate is $0.75 for the first hour, and then it goes up by increments of $0.50 every hour until it reaches a max of $15.00 for 24 hours.
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